UT vet school treats miniature horse, finds owner

Nov. 7, 2016: The UT College of Veterinary Medicine has been treating a miniature horse that was hit by a car in Union County.

The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine is reuniting an injured miniature horse with its owner after the horse was hit by a car in Union County Sunday night. 

The miniature horse that veterinarians named "Tonka" when it arrived at the vet school early Monday morning has mainly external injuries and cuts on its hind leg. 

Officials with the vet school said Tonka was found near the intersection of Walkers Ford Road and Old Springs Road in Maynardville. 

Dr. Jose Castro said several people including Dr. Megan Graves, Dr. Michael Zarzosa, Dr. Jennifer Sexton and three other students worked to stabilize the miniature horse and perform a physical exam after he was transported to Knoxville. 

"I was the on-call surgeon last night," Castro said. "My phone rang about two in the morning. The message is we have a mini horse hit by a car."

Castro said Tonka was originally known as patient 11216 when he arrived, but the veterinarians and students working on him decided to call him Tonka. 

"It was very interesting to see six people in a room with a small horse, and we all were trying to clip and clean and take a radiograph and take an ultrasound, so naturally we don't want to call it 11216," Castro said. 

Tonka is recovering in the ICU at the vet school, and veterinarians are monitoring him as he makes progress. 

"The most important thing is control of his pain," Castro said. "We want him to be pain free, and we're going to be continuing to monitor that he's eating and drinking." 

Officials with the UTCVM were also concerned about finding Tonka's rightful owner. The school posted on its Facebook page hoping to find who Tonka belonged to, and someone replied within a few hours claiming the miniature horse. 

Sandra Harbison, media relations for the UTCVM, said the owners told her the horse's real name is "Little Man." 

Harbison said the miniature horse is expected to stay overnight for observation before reuniting with his owner. 

"He's a favorite of all of us already so he will be missed," Castro said. 

(© 2016 WBIR)


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